Organisations are navigating a changing and uncertain business environment; as clients must deliver bigger and more complex transformational change, demanding more from us and in less time, it is easy to become consumed in fee-earning, win-work and productivity. Whilst a focus on delivery is exciting – and exactly the reason many of us joined the world of consulting – it can be a challenge to see beyond the client-first narrative and realise the value of taking time to invest in business, and personal, improvement. This is particularly significant after a tumultuous year for society where an organisation’s morals, values and perceived actions are permanently under the microscope and can mean as much to an employee or client as financials and performance. It is now more important than ever for an organisation to have their own house in order. This piece explores four benefits experienced first-hand of capitalising on talent for both the organisation and individual’s development.
Whether it be a large-scale idea about the strategic direction or a smaller-scale plan to make your team more sustainable, being encouraged and empowered to invest time in internal networks and initiatives provides the opportunity to help build the business you want to be a part of and feel genuine accountability for the change. As a member of Empower, Atkins’ women’s professional network, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my consulting skills in an internal initiative I feel passionate about, driving me to be more creative, motivated and increasingly engaged with the organisation that I joined virtually. The nature of client work, and now a shift in ways of working, means fewer bodies in offices and risk of less engagement, making this opportunity for internal work an even more significant discussion. Identifying with your organisation through a genuine personal contribution to the areas that affect you and your colleagues gives a sense of belonging, responsibility and pride in your business, ultimately improving your performance and wellbeing.
Diversity of Thought
Diversity of thought is the foundation of true innovation and growth; it encourages unique perspectives to develop an optimal solution. Getting involved in internal work generally introduces you to people outside your cohort, team, division, region and even country, and gives a taste of new ways of thinking and problem-solving. This exposure, and the network that comes with it, is an opportunity for constant learning and knowledge sharing to bring back to your day-to-day work and colleagues. Encouraging these types of collaborations is also beneficial for business. It ensures a range of opinions, expertise and strengths are utilised to deliver the best solutions for the business and its clients.
Broadening your Horizons
The more people you interact with and the wider your network reaches, the greater your exposure to different personalities, working styles, aspirations, struggles, cultures, passions – the list is endless. I have found that this exposure has shaped me into a more conscientious, empathetic and curious colleague with better awareness and genuine appreciation for the different experiences people can encounter. I benefit by developing my communication, leadership and collaboration skills to complement working with different colleagues, and the business benefits by getting a more adaptable and well-rounded employee. This exposure can also broaden your horizons in terms of new opportunities and introduce you to different projects, initiatives or even career paths that you hadn’t considered before (along with a network to support you through them).
One of the more obvious business benefits of encouraging internal work is utilising the talent, skills and knowledge that organisations sell to their clients. As the business world starts to see an increasing emphasis on social value, corporate morality and responsibility, it is up to organisations to decide how to best address this social shift and facilitate internal change. Whether it be challenges such as equality, diversity, health, safety or sustainability, enlisting the help of passionate and invested employees can only lead to better, more authentic and more personal business solutions.
It goes without saying that our industry wouldn’t be what it is without the ever-changing, fast-paced, exciting world of client work but I am a firm believer that these experiences can be enriched by identifying with your organisation, building an internal community and working on projects you’re passionate about. Capitalising on your talent to better your business internally, on whatever scale, is a win-win investment for both an individual and an organisation – what is stopping you!
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